The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Watch: More therapists and psychotherapists to be employed to support the elderly – Minister

Jake Aquilina Tuesday, 11 May 2021, 18:17 Last update: about 2 months ago

More therapists and psychotherapists are to be employed in order to look after the mental health of the elderly, Minister for Senior Citizens and Active Ageing Michael Farrugia said.

Senior citizens have been, for a good part of the pandemic, living in fear of the virus. Given that Covid-19 has a higher mortality rate in this group of people, it probably left negative effects on their mental health.

Asked about this issue and whether studies are being conducted to asses it, Minister Farrugia said that the Ministry is gearing up with professionals, so as to look after the mental health of the elderly.

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"There will not only be studies, but we will also employ a number of psychotherapists who will help the elderly. This is part of a process which will take place over the coming weeks," he said.

The minister stressed the importance of the government "recognising and helping", while also knowing that it is not only the elderly who are suffering mentally due to the pandemic.

"I can understand that there has been an impact on the mental health of the elderly, and this impact is not only felt in elderly care homes. All the elderly in our society have been impacted. In fact, I would go on to say that it is not only the elderly who have suffered mentally as there are a number of people on whom the virus had a psychological impact," he said.

Farrugia observed that it was important to weigh the situation and that Malta gave priority to those who are most vulnerable; the elderly. "Now, given that Covid cases seem to have somewhat settled within that group of vaccinated seniors, measures can be eased as announced."

"We are relaxing them slowly [...] due to the fact that there is still a certain vulnerability, so we have to remain vigilant in order to evaluate every step we take. We will then progress depending on whether there is no negative impact."

Regarding the easing of measures for senior citizens which will take place on the 24th of May, when day centres will reopen and outings for the elderly will be organised, Farrugia said that they will also have the opportunity to be taken to places where "they can sit and have a cup of coffee together", which is part of "a number of activities."

 


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